Hello! The Cubs have a pretty big series on tap, eh?
I know it feels like they’ve already played some big ones this year, and that’s true, but today, they’re starting a two-game set against a second-place Brewers team, who are just 3.0 games back. And the best part is the Cubs don’t have nearly as much to lose.
Sweep this series and the Brewers will find themselves in quite the (5.0 game) pickle. Split it, you’re sitting pretty with the same 3.0 game lead you had coming in. Get swept, you’re still in sole possession of first. So there’s not really a nightmare scenario this week, but there is a ton of upside.
And if the Cubs do manage to win these two games, they’ll kick off a fairly easy 13-game stretch against the Pirates, Tigers, Reds, and Mets with a VERY good start. DO THAT.
We’re Going Streaking
The Chicago Cubs (68-49) have not lost a series since July, though it’s not quite as good as it sounds, because splitting that four-game series against the Padres at home sorta felt like a loss. Nonetheless, they’re two games over .500 in the second half (13-11) and looking to improve today.
The Milwaukee Brewers (67-54) have won just one series since the end of July, dropping two of three to the Braves and Padres most recently. They are just one game over .500 since the All-Star break and are going to be desperate for a couple wins this week today.
Game Times and Broadcasts Info
- Tuesday, August 14th at 1:20 CT on CSN-C, MLBN, 670 The Score
- Wednesday, August 15th at 1:20 CT on WGN, MLBN, 670 The Score
- Jose Quintana (4.28 ERA, 4.63 FIP; 1.94 K/BB)
- Kyle Hendricks (4.02 ERA, 4.26 FIP; 3.38 K/BB)
Active Depth Chart:
- C – Willson Contreras
- 1B – Anthony Rizzo
- 2B – Javy Baez/David Bote
- 3B – Ian Happ/David Bote
- SS – Addison Russell
- LF – Kyle Schwarber/Ben Zobrist
- CF – Albert Almora/Ian Happ
- RF – Jason Heyward/Ben Zobrist
Unavailable: Justin Hancock, Kris Bryant, Yu Darvish, Drew Smyly, Brandon Morrow, Brian Duensing
- Jhoulys Chacin (3.91 ERA, 4.27 FIP; 2.06 K/BB)
- Junior Guerra (3.40 ERA, 4.30 FIP; 2.33 K/BB)
Active Depth Chart:
- C – Manny Pina
- 1B – Jesus Aguilar
- 2B – Travis Shaw
- 3B – Mike Moustakas
- SS – Orlando Arcia
- LF – Ryan Braun
- CF – Lorenzo Cain
- RF – Christian Yelich
Unavailable: Matt Albers, Zach Davies, Joakim Soria, Taylor Williams, Nick Franklin, Jimmy Nelson, Brent Suter, Stephen Vogt
Keep An Eye Out For …
Cubs Pitcher: Two of Jose Quintana’s best starts this season came against the Brewers.
The good news is that 2 of Jose Quintana's best 4 starts (including his best of the year) have come against the Brewers.
4/28 in CHI: 7.0 IP, 2H, 1BB, 7K – 0ER
4/08 in MIL: 6.0 IP, 3H, 2BB, 6K – 0ER
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) August 14, 2018
Although, that’s not exclusively a good sign. For one, this Brewers’ lineup looks very different than it did back in April, when both of those starts were played. For another, Jose Quintana has a season of struggles in between him and those games. And for yet another, teams tend to play better against pitchers they’ve seen many times over. Though, to be fair this was quite a while ago/the roster is different, so Quintana could still have the edge.
Cubs Player: Anthony Rizzo has had a very good second half of the season, slashing .333/.442/.563 (168 wRC+) so far and hasn’t slowed down much lately (178 wRC+ since August 3). It has been over a week since his last extra-base hit though, so hopefully he uncorks one soon.
Brewers Pitcher: Josh Hader continues to be really good here in the second half, but his walk rate has remained at an elevated 9.8%, despite the fact that his strikeout rate has dropped from 50.3% to 36.6%. The latter is still excellent, but that’s obviously a rather significant drop.
Brewers Player: Ryan Braun has actually been scorching hot over his last ~50 plate appearances (July 24th), slashing .378/.440/.600 with four doubles, two homers, and two stolen bases. He hasn’t walked much during that stretch, but who needs to when you’re not striking out much and hitting it that well. But who knows, maybe those two recent stolen bases will get to his head and Kyle Hendricks will pick him off first tomorrow, eh?
Go Cubs. Also, the lineup for today’s game is already out.